Q We're planning to be gone for four days in the middle of the month. We have a large Christmas tree stand, but I don't think it's enough to adequately water the tree for those days. Is there a way to keep the tree hydrated without having a someone come in to water it?

A There are products that hold a reserve of water that's delivered as needed to the tree through a siphon, said Jan Donelson, executive director of Minnesota Christmas Tree Association.

The Automatic Tree Siphon by Cinco Plastics is what Donelson sells at her farm, Jan's Cut Your Own in Clearwater. Other Christmas tree waterers are available at stores and online.

Pad the rug

Q Are pads necessary under large area rugs on wood floors? What type of pad should we put under a wool area rug?

A It's a good idea to use a pad with area rugs. Besides preventing wrinkling and moving, pads reduce wear on the rug, prevent damage to the floor and make vacuum-cleaning easier.

You'll want a polyester scrim pad coated with PVC. It'll hold the rug on smooth surfaces such as wood. Look for these pads at stores that sell area rugs.

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